Archive for Thursday, September 30, 2010

Donated land now will cost city, school district $129,000

September 30, 2010

Because of a technical snafu brought to light by a bank foreclosure, the city of Basehor and the Basehor-Linwood School District are paying a combined $129,000 for pieces of property they thought they already owned.

The city and the school district both negotiated settlements with Overland Park-based CrossFirst Bank earlier this month to gain clear titles to land along Basehor Boulevard in the Basehor Town Center area. The district agreed to pay $72,000 for the rights to the 12 acres of property on which Basehor Intermediate School stands, and the city will pay $57,000 for the right of way for Basehor Boulevard and sewer and wastewater easements.

Basehor resident Jerry Mussett and developer Basehor Town Center, LLC, had intended to donate the land for the school and the right of way and had given quitclaim deeds to the city and the district relinquishing ownership of the school land and the street, city and school officials said.

But when the developer took out a mortgage on its Basehor Town Center property surrounding Basehor Boulevard, the donated portions were included in the mortgage. Earlier this year, CrossFirst Bank told the city and the district that it was foreclosing on the property, including the street and the school.

The deeds that Mussett and the developer gave to the city and the district did not apply to the bank, meaning the bank could take ownership of those properties if it foreclosed. This meant that the only option for the city and the district to claim the street and the school was to buy them from the bank.

“It’s kind of a confusing situation for everybody involved,” said city administrator Mark Loughry.

It was confusing enough, Loughry said, that he did not think that Mussett or Mike Duncan, co-owner of Basehor Town Center, had any intention of leaving the city and the district in a position where they had to pay for their properties. Mayor Terry Hill and Basehor-Linwood Superintendent David Howard also said it was an honest mistake that allowed the bank to take ownership of the land.

“I just don’t think there’s a bad guy here,” Hill said.

The officials all said they did not know who, between Mussett and the developer, made the mistake that resulted in the donation of the street and the school land never being officially documented.

Mussett, for his part, said he felt terrible about the situation, especially because he had seven grandchildren who attend school in the district.

“It was just a series of mistakes,” Mussett said. “It is embarrassing, but there are a lot of things that are, in life.”

Mussett announced his intentions to donate the land for the new school in 2007. The Basehor Town Center area had been farmland owned by Mussett’s family for many years before entering into an agreement with Duncan’s company Affinity Development to develop the area as a new downtown for Basehor.

Duncan declined to comment on anything that had happened with Basehor Town Center.

Howard said that $72,000 was still much less than the district would usually pay for 12 acres of land.

“In the scheme of things, it’s unfortunate, because we thought we were being given the property,” Howard said. “But we couldn’t go out and purchase a piece of property for that amount of money.”


Ronald Grover 7 years, 7 months ago

I cannot believe the comments of the parties in this transaction. Seems like the only people hurt in this are the students of our district and taxpayers in our city.

You have a school district and city government officials not exercising the due diligence that is required under the responsibility of their position. You have elected school board and city council members that do not even ensure a clear title is in place before expending millions of dollars. That is negligence or laziness in their position.

Let's be real about this act. If you take out a mortgage on your land to build a house or something isn't a title search and mortgage insurance a basic requirement? Why isn't the same thing required when the bonds are issued before improvements are begun? Are our government officials, elected officials and hired attorney asleep at the wheel?

Yes, let's all just sweep the incompetence under the rug by all parties.


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